By Lenny Shulman
Prince Lucky, coming off a decisive defeat to Ax Man in the LARC Sir Barton Stakes on Preakness Stakes (G1) day at Pimlico Race Course, opened up the stakes action on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 9 at Belmont Park with a late-charging victory in the $150,000 Easy Goer Stakes. Last year's Easy Goer winner, West Coast, went on to be voted champion 3-year-old male of 2017.
Prince Lucky was reserved early in mid-pack in the Easy Goer as Lunar Beauty spurted to an early lead pursued by Dark Vader. After an opening quarter in :23.27, Lunar Beauty maintained his advantage and passed the half-mile mark in :46.26. Off the turn,Rugbyman grabbed the lead with Prince Lucky and Dark Vader in close attendance. Four runners briefly lined up across the track and Prince Lucky, in between horses, prevailed by a neck over Rugbyman in 1:41.41 for the 1 1/16 miles. Dark Vader was a nose farther back in third, with favored Mask checking in fourth.
"He had a very good work last week and we decided he was in sharp form and that we would take a shot," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "We castrated him after his first start for us (the grade 3 Sunland Derby March 25) and I think that started to turn around his behavior. He was exemplary in the paddock and post parade and I think it has allowed him to get his mind completely on his business."
Prince Lucky is a gelded son of Corinthian--Lucky Notion, by Great Notion , bred in Pennsylvania by Daniel McConnell, who also campaigns Prince Lucky. Prince Lucky took the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes late last year but finished well back in both the Lecomte Stakes (G3) and Sunland Park Derby before hitting the board in the Sir Barton behind the brilliant performance by Ax Man. John Velazquez provided the winning ride in the Easy Goer.
Prince Lucky returned $30.00, $11.80, and $6.60 to his backers. Rugbyman was good for $5.30 and $3.60, while Dark Vader paid $3.80 to show.
Prince Lucky has won half of his eight lifetime starts and has earned just north of $230,000.